The 5 Best Hummus Flavors at Trader Joe's, According to Employees
When we asked Trader Joe's superfan Jenna A. Werner, RD, creator of Happy Strong Healthy in Middletown, New Jersey to dish about her must-buy healthy items, she knew her number one answer immediately. Each trip, she comes home with, "all the dips to use as dips with veggies and crackers, pretzels or chips or to use as sauces! It's so much fun mixing and matching!"
And our dietitian source is not alone in thinking the Trader Joe's refrigerator section is a slam dunk for fans of dunking. According to an interview on the brand-new episode 45 of the Inside Trader Joe's podcast, just one of Trader Joe's hummus-making partners (that creates three of the supermarkets' signature bean dip flavors) whips up a whopping 8 million(!) pounds of hummus for TJ's alone.
"Chickpeas are probably one of the earliest beans to be discovered and then cultivated. Whether you call them chickpeas, garbanzos, some people way back knew them as the Egyptian Pea, you probably think about hummus because in Arabic, the word for chickpea is hummus," explains Matt Sloan, vice president of marketing, who co-hosts the podcast alongside marketing director Tara Miller. "Hummus is such an amazing way to experience chickpeas because there's something about a chickpea, when it's cooked and mashed, sometimes almost in a whipped-up fashion, that the protein structure, the starches in that chickpea lend themselves so well to this creamy, textually rich, dip: hummus."
You're speaking our snack-loving language, Matt. As the podcast episode continued, Sloan and Miller visited a couple of their recipe partners who manufacture some of the brand's most beloved dips. Katie, a senior process technologist at one of Trader Joe's suppliers, Hummus Land, says, "Now you see a lot of 'hummus' on store shelves that is made with a different type of bean, whether it be black beans, cannellini beans, any type of bean. You can make something with it and call it 'hummus,' but what I like about the Trader Joe's products is…that they are based on garbanzo beans or chickpeas."
They sell so much of the dips that Hummus Land makes the recipes in 1,000-pound batches, which are then packaged and fly off shelves with staff members and shoppers alike stocking up early and often. (Prefer to DIY than buy? Here's how to make hummus from scratch.)
5 Trader Joe's Hummus Flavors Everyone Should Try, According to Employees
"Part of the appeal of hummus is that it is a plant-based dip and an alternative to a salsa or a cheese dip, anything else that you might have at a party, but it's so versatile," Katie says.
Here are five top-selling flavors the episode's hosts and guests agree are amazing. Take note so you can consider adding to your cart on your next visit:
- Mediterranean-Style Hummus. Sold with a pile of toppings already added as a garnish, "one of the things that I like about the Mediterranean hummus is the appearance of it and the visual appeal of having the pine nuts and the parsley and paprika over the top of it, because it looks appetizing," Katie says.
- Three-Layer Hummus. Featuring classic, cilantro and spicy hummus all stacked in one container, you can enjoy each flavor on its own or blended. Miller admits, "It never occurred to me to stir them together cause there's something so very satisfying about seeing all the layers," but the other episode stars suggested using a spoon or a dunker to give 'em a swirl.
- Dill Pickle Hummus. This seasonal selection is vegan, versatile and totally tasty if you ask Christine, deli category manager at Trader Joe's. "You can use it traditionally with pita chips. But beyond that, we've started to see customers choose it as a better-for-you option than, say, mayonnaise and put it on a toasted bagel and have a yummy veggie sandwich…You can add it to salad dressings. You can add it to different sauces. It just provides an additional creamy texture and gives an additional source of fiber and protein." (Psst…Our Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing will walk you through how to stir together a scrumptious salad-topper!)
- Roasted Garlic Hummus. In addition to the Organic Classic and Pumpkin Spice Hummus come holiday time, episode guest Sam and his team at another hummus-making partner whip up a lot of this garlicky, fan-favorite hummus each year. "The Classic Organic and the Roasted Garlic are the core items," he says.
- Chocolate Dessert Hummus. Admittedly far from the classic chickpea dip you'd savor in the Middle East, this cocoa powder-infused hummus is, "a healthier alternative, dessert option. I've actually even seen it used in a recipe as a replacement for oil in brownies," Christine says.